Apocalypse cataclysm is no popcorn, which makes The Road a perfect antithesis for the farcical fluff that is 2012. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, it’s a post-apocalyptic tale starring Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. Here’s the short synopsis per IMDb: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.
A friend at work came over on Friday and told me how mercilessly grim the trailer is — and it is — there’s no sugarcoating on this doomsday flick and that’s how it should be. Alas, this probably earn only a tiny fraction of what John Cusack-starrer raked up, as people would rather see spectacular SFX of stuff blowing up is far more commercial and ‘easier’ to watch. Just a side note, for some reason this trailer brings to mind Reign of Fire without the fiery dragons, though quality-wise it’s like comparing apples and oranges.
Mortensen continue to admirably defy his good looks to play the destitute and desperate father and husband. He’s one of those actors I deeply admire but I’m often too chickened-out to watch his films (i.e. Eastern Promises). According to his interview with Collider, filming The Road was both physically AND emotionally demanding. “If it hadn’t been and if we hadn’t shot outside in the winter, I don’t think it would be as good a movie because no matter how well you fake it visually, the actors aren’t going to feel the same.” He also admitted losing about 30 pounds to physically prepare for the role. But the emotional part proves to be even more challenging.
Q: Was it an emotionally taxing role for you?
VM: Yeah. To be honest, that was the hardest part. It was harder than the physical part, for me. I mean, I’ve been in movies where I’ve had to do physical – you know, whether I was in extreme heat or cold, mountains, horse work, fights, all that – I may have done things that I knew “Oh God, we’ve got weeks or months of this” – and you just get through it. But it’s a whole other thing to have to – and I’ve been naked physically in movies – but it’s a whole other thing to be naked emotionally in a way that’s not just a distraction or a character. It had to be very sincere or it wouldn’t work because just the landscape we’re in is so real. It’s so raw and in a way it’s such an open wound that our feelings had to be on that level, which was kind of a measuring stick, I felt. And then, I’ve never been in a movie where the environment was so consistently a character.
I definitely smell Oscar for this multi-talented actor’s heartbreaking performance! The Road is released tomorrow, 11/25.